قالب وردپرس درنا توس
Home / US / Hundreds of polling stations in Iowa are closed due to COVID-19: NPR

Hundreds of polling stations in Iowa are closed due to COVID-19: NPR



Local residents will vote in the early voting in the general election in Adel, Iowa on October 20. A new analysis by NPR, the Center for Public Integrity and the Center for State Government shows that the state has closed 261 polling stations since 2016, mainly due to COVID-1

9.

Charlie Nebekal/Associated Press


Hide title

Switch subtitles

Charlie Nebekal/Associated Press

Local residents will vote in the early voting in the general election in Adel, Iowa on October 20. A new analysis by NPR, the Center for Public Integrity and the Center for State Government shows that the state has closed 261 polling stations since 2016, mainly due to COVID-19.

Charlie Nebekal/Associated Press

This story was jointly reported by Iowa Public Broadcasting News, the Center for Public Integrity and NPR.

The New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Waterloo. High school in Fort Dodge. Masonic temple in the parliament bluff.

However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, hundreds of closures and mergers have spread across the state, and voters in Iowa will not be able to vote at any polling station on this election day.

Sheena Thomas, a voter in Des Moines, said: “All of us, we will have to find where we need to go. I mean, I’m not sure where I will go.” “This It will be everyone’s problem.”

Thomas was unable to vote at her usual polling station this year, which is the senior care center on the west side of the city. She decided that it would be easier to change to absence.

“There are the area code, the House of Representatives area code, and the Senate area code. Which one is my voting place?” she asked. “I’m pretty sure its area code, but even so, it’s not easy to get in your mind.”

Everything about voting in 2020 is shaken by COVID-19. A record number of ballots were set in advance by mail or in person voting. Sports teams across the country have turned their arenas into large-scale polling stations with a distance from society.

But in some states, this pandemic also means reducing the number of polling stations, which is a potential barrier for voters in a period of increased pressure and chaos.

According to the analysis of the Center for Public Integrity, State Airline and NPR, Iowa has lost 261 polling stations since the 2016 election. The voting location varies from state to state. Although some counties can keep all sites open, other counties must close or merge half of them.

Overall, this affects approximately 670,000 Iowans, which is 30% of registered voters in the state. The vast majority of those affected by the changes live in urban areas of the state, which reliably voted for the Democratic Party. And the closure was carried out at a time when multiple competitions were held in the state, including the presidential election.

Chris Helps of Earlham, Iowa entered the ballot box in the early voting in Adel, Iowa on Tuesday, October 20.

Charlie Nebekal/Associated Press


Hide title

Switch subtitles

Charlie Nebekal/Associated Press

Chris Helps of Earlham, Iowa entered the ballot box in the early voting in Adel, Iowa on Tuesday, October 20.

Charlie Nebekal/Associated Press

Pandemic triggers polling station integration

This spring, the pandemic triggered an unprecedented consolidation of polling stations during the primary elections in various jurisdictions across the United States, sparking strong protests against the image of voters in long lines in places like Milwaukee and Atlanta.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called on election administrators to “maintain or increase the total number of polling stations available to the public on election day to increase their ability to distance themselves from society.” The guidelines also say to avoid increasing the number of potential registered voters allocated to each voting location unless there is no other option.

In recent years, pandemic-related blockades have been reduced because some communities have begun to vote mainly through mail or using larger “voting centers”, and election management following the US Supreme Court’s ruling to restrict federal government oversight of elections.

In 2013, the court’s Shelby County v. Holder The decision overturned the provisions of the Voting Rights Act, which required jurisdictions with racial discrimination practices to obtain permission from the federal government before changing voting policies and procedures. Since then, voting rights advocates have expressed shock at how the closure and relocation of polling stations might affect previously discovered people of color in states and jurisdictions. Iowa is not covered.

Overall, “on election day, we can foresee long lines in areas that have been shut down on a large scale,” said Leigh Chapman, director of the Voting Rights Program at the Civil Rights and Human Rights Leaders Conference.Polling stations in affected areas closed Shelby.

Despite the efforts of advocates, local election officials in Iowa are still struggling to find poll workers and are driven out of churches and community centers, which are reluctant to accept voters during the pandemic.

“This is just reality. Insufficient polls mean fewer voting locations,” said Joel Miller, the state’s second-largest top election official in Lynn County.

Miller has closed or consolidated 37% of polling stations this year.

Miller said: “I know this may cause more difficulties for it, but you know, there are many people who may volunteer to participate in the polls, and I choose not to do so.” Miller said, “but when we say we It takes people to participate when they are young and stand up this year. We are not joking.”

Many Iowans (if not the majority) are expected to be early or absent in this cycle, and voters have broken at least one voting record.

But for those who do want to vote in person on election day, research shows that the closure of polling stations, mergers and relocations may reduce turnout.

Chris Larimer, a political scientist at Northern Iowa State University, said this is a worrying issue.

“If other forms of voting (absence or early absence) increase significantly, will it be enough to offset the consolidation of polling stations? Or will certain polling stations be closed?” Larimer asked. “I just don’t know we don’t know yet.”

For voters, finding new sites can be time-consuming and confusing. Low-income people and people of color may not be able to overcome these obstacles. Across the country, even before the pandemic, black voters face longer waiting times in opinion polls.

Larimer said: “This is a matter of voter suppression.” “And/or just increase voting fees. This is something we don’t want to do because it is already difficult to get people to vote.”

Diverse communities among affected people

Analysis by the Center for Public Integrity, Stateline and NPR found that in Black Hawk County (one of the most diverse areas in the state), census tracts with more people of color lost more polling places than white census tracts .

Blackhawk County auditor Grant Veeder said that when he closed or merged 30% of the sites, he did not consider demographic information. His county includes the city of Waterloo, which has proportionally the largest black population in the state.

Veeder said: “We really don’t use this kind of demographic information.” “We are just looking for the places we need to combine, and try to make them as little as possible, and spread them as much as possible.”

Veeder, like many local election officials, hopes that Iowans can take advantage of early and absentee voting to prevent crowded polling stations and long lines.

Vikki Brown, the chairman of the Blackhawk County Democratic Party, said the prospects of reducing participation in polls by black communities are not surprising.

Brown said: “It seems that things are always getting tougher for us. However, we are resilient. We always find a way to do what we need to do.” “We overcome.”

Voters in Iowa do have other ways to vote. Early voting in the state began on October 5th, and every county has at least one early polling station. In addition, compared with other states, the absentee voting mechanism without absenteeism here is more mature. During the 2016 general election, 40% of voters in Iowa voted absenteeism.

In general, the turnout rate in Iowa is often higher than that of residents in other states, and during presidential elections, the turnout rate usually reaches 70%.

Despite everything, Brown is optimistic that voters will find a way, even during the pandemic.

Brown said: “I’m sure it will make it more difficult for people to vote. But now I see a firm determination, people are determined about it.” “Whatever you do, we will offset it.”

As of Friday, the state had received a record number of absentee votes.

But how these changes in polling locations affect turnout may affect areas outside of Iowa. The White House, the U.S. Senate, and Iowa’s multiple House of Representatives district games have all been advertised as tossing.

The match is so close, Larimer said, changes in polling stations may affect the results of the election, especially after voting.

Payne is a reporter for the Public Radio News in Iowa, Rebala is a news developer for the Center for Public Integrity, Levine is a senior reporter for the Center for Public Integrity, Talbot ) Is a news application developer at NPR.




Source link